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CHAPTER 3: OVERVIEW OF THE COLORADO COURT SYSTEM - Table of Contents

3.1 - Overview of the Colorado Court System3.2 - Overview of the Criminal Justice Program3.3 - Prosecutors and Defense Lawyers3.4 - Overview of the Civil Justice Process3.5 - Plaintiff and Defense Counsel3.6 - State Courts in Boulder County3.7 - Municipal Courts in Boulder County3.8 - Small Claims Courts in Boulder County

3.8 SMALL CLAIMS COURTS IN BOULDER COUNTY

Small claims courts are designed to resolve relatively minor disputes quickly and simply. A description of small claims courts appears on the web site of the Colorado Judicial Department. Small claims courts are limited to certain types of disputes, and cannot award more than $7,500 to the prevailing party. Jury trials are not allowed in small claims court, and the parties are not represented by lawyers. The rules of procedure and of evidence are simplified, but presenting your own case can still be a daunting task.

All of the forms that you need to handle a case in small claims court are available on the web page and from some of the court clerks. There is a relatively small fee for filing a claim - a 'complaint' - in small claims court. The person filing the complaint (the plaintiff) must make sure that a copy of the complaint is served on the other party (the defendant). The defendant can respond with an 'answer' to the complaint.

Both parties should come to trial prepared to present testimony witnesses, photographs, documents and other types of evidence to support the claims or defenses. After hearing evidence and arguments, the small claims court judge will make findings of fact, rulings of law, and declare which party prevails and how much money the prevailing party is awarded. The prevailing party can use this court order to collect the judgment.

While the small claims court process is much simpler than that used in county or district courts, it is still unfamiliar to the non-lawyer. Persons wishing to use small claims court should get the brochure and other information about the small claims court system from the web page or the court clerk's office.

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